A little while ago I met the lovely Whitney at a blogger event and she chatted excitedly to me about Interlaced, an innovative organisation which is 'dedicated to inspire, educate and communicate the developments around the next wave of fashion, creating a platform for curious minds.' Their desire is to generate awareness and excitement around the concept of wearble technology and ultimately, to bridge the gap between fashion houses and consumer adoption of smart apparel. In their own words:
'Interlaced is built on the fact that in order to speed up innovation within fashion houses and technology companies in the area of wearable tech apparel, an increasing demand from the end-consumer needs to be apparent.'
Whitney very kindly asked if I wanted to be a part of this exciting journey, to which I of course said yes please. The idea of wearable technology has been something I have become increasingly curious about, having touched upon the topic briefly in a particular unit during my fashion degree a few years back. I will openly admit that it has always confused me a little; perhaps not fully understanding the benefits for such a niche area. This is part of the reason for wanting to be involved with Interlaced - to learn, to gain more insight and help spread the word. The idea of being able to actually wear an item that has certain technology imbedded into it, in full working order, is pretty damn fascinating, don't you think!? Complete sci-fi, futuristic stuff if you ask me. Yet, it is happening, and has indeed happened with designers such as Philip Treacy experimenting with LED hats in his SS13 'Virtual Reality' collection and Sir Alan Sugar encouraging his protégées to push the boundaries of fashion and technology, to mould together as one dimension during series 10 of The Apprentice, (albeit the contestants did dramatically fail with their creations.)
Like I say, we only mildly touched upon this subject whilst I was studying my Fashion with Photography degree back in 2011, and I must be honest and say at that point in my life, I really wasn't very interested in any technical jargon - I just wanted to create pretty imagery. Fast forward 4 years since graduating, and not only have my tastes completely changed when it comes to fashion, but so have some of my ideas surrounding this multi billion pound industry that so very often, defines us - even if we ourselves are not acutely aware of it(Think back to the blue sweater scene in The Devil Wears Prada..!) I guess that comes with age; becoming more aware of the world we live in, wondering what the future holds, and wanting to test theories of what may have once been thought to be impossible. What I'm trying to say is that, now, as a proper "adult" (I still sometimes have to use that word loosely!), I am way more interested in the use of technology, how it has evolved already and where we may be in 10 years time because of it. The possibilities truly do seem to be endless when you think about what has already been achieved; that once upon a time would have been deemed only something a futuristic movie could provide. An obvious creation as an example - iPads - they're pretty clever little devices really aren't they? Apple have already started to pioneer the wearable technology phenomenon with the highly sought after Apple Watch - who knows what could now follow after the technical retail giant has set the precedent for this new era.
If you, like I used to, think that this whole idea of wearable tech is all a bit gimmicky and is likely to rapidly fizzle out after having it's five minutes of fame, then I urge you to think again. Novelty creations such as Katy Perry's LED Met Gala dress which, don't get me wrong, was super impressive, but purely for show, may not take off as intended - but what if a wearable tech garment actually served a purpose? Intelligent Textiles are the company currently working on that theory, dedicating their expertise and resources on focusing on revolutionising the design, construction and functionality of military uniforms. The Surrey based company has dedicated the last eight years to designing uniforms with electronic circuits weaved into the fabric, allowing soldiers to carry just one battery pack on the frontline, rather than numerous pieces of kit which are great disadvantages to them during battle. Intelligent Textiles could eventually lead into the health sector to solve other needs.
This current exploration of fabric innovation provides an insight into how this somewhat vague and not yet fully explored nor understood, notion of wearable technology can be introduced into everyday life and careers, with the potential of a more beneficial outcome. Intelligent Textiles co-founder sums it up perfectly:
“A lot of wearables at the moment are selling a gimmick, but when you solve a need, you’ve got a product.”
IMHO, the world is the fashion AND technology industry's oyster if they so choose; the possibilities of the products that could be achieved is truly mind boggling and I for one am excited to see what's next for our generation.
So - have I got your brains buzzing? Are you wondering what could be next in terms of wearable tech, smart clothing and fabric innovation? Interlaced are holding their first ever event in London on the 3rd September 2015, of which I am truly excited to be involved in, where their aim is to engage, inspire and educate on this diverse subject. If you're a fashion student perhaps about to embark on a dissertation to do with wearable technology, a general tech geek, or literally just intrigued by this concept then grab yourself a ticket and come join us - it's set to be a fantastic event with a diverse range of speakers and exhibitors, panel discussions, workshops and of course the main event, the fashion showcase (where I shall be making my catwalk debut...eek!!).
Tickets are selling fast so don't miss your spot - click here to book yours now. There are currently still heavily discounted *student* tickets still available too!
Let me know if you are planning on visiting the Interlaced event and I'd love to hear any thoughts you may have on the subject of wearable tech - just pop a comment at the end of this post and I'll get back to you as quickly as possible, or feel free to tweet me @maddiemagpie for a faster response!